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Rider Highlight: Ali Hamze takes his first omnium & criterium win!

Congrats Ali on your first omnium and criterium win! Ali has been working hard with Coach Mitchell Sides and had a very successful collegiate road racing weekend at SCCCC Conference Championships! Photo cred: Carter Baker.
Name: Ali Hamze
Event & Category: SCCCC Conference Championships – Men’s B (category 3/4) Omnium consisting of a road race (which was canceled), crit, and a TT.
Brief event/course description:
The criterium course consisted of a .7 mile long loop with three tight 180 degree corners and a slight uphill drag into a headwind to the finish. Two of the 180 degree corners were back to back, making the course quite technical. This meant cornering well and maintaining a good position even more important than normal! The criterium for the Men’s B race ran for 45 minutes.
How’d the race/event go down for you?
Very well! This criterium was my first win in a race, and along with my ITT performance the day before (4th place), I also won the weekend omnium.
Knowing how important positioning would be, I made sure to be towards the front of the race right at the start. Early on, I put in a few attacks to keep the pace high and to try to splinter the field. The field mostly stayed together until we started getting prime laps, which all came within a span of 10 minutes. The primes were for omnium points, and since I was high in the omnium rankings, I was determined to go for as many primes as I could. Things went well, and I won three out of the four primes and took second in the last one (primes went four deep). During those 10 minutes, we dropped half the field and had a group of 10 or so left in the front group. Soon after that, the front group broke up further, leaving 5 of us in the front, with a chase group of 5 forming behind us about half a lap down. With a few laps to go, I could tell the others in the front group were suffering from the pace we had been setting to keep the chase group from getting back on, so I decided I would attack the group and try to ride in solo. In the second to last lap, I was second wheel going into the double 180 degree turn. I took more aggressive lines through the corners, came out first with a small gap, and attacked with everything I had to open the gap further. I pushed through the headwind and small hill to hit the turns again with the gap even larger, and stayed away to the line!
Which coach do you work with and how did your training help you prepare for the event?
Coach Mitchell Sides. The base training I did in December, January, and February were key. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain the pace or recover after attacking. With my aerobic base built up, we added in intensity. We started with VO2 max intervals, and recently, I’ve been doing 30/30s (which are especially good for crits).
Not all the coaching has been physical! Post-race discussions this season with Coach Sides have helped me understand much better when and where to attack and how to use my matches, honing my tactical sense during races. These discussions have also helped me realize how much more I still have to learn!
What advice do you have for someone up and coming in your cycling discipline?
Keep at it, and be patient! The most important things are consistency and determination. I had my first race 2 years ago and got addicted. I spent that winter training seriously and losing 40 lbs, only to crash and miss most of the 2015 season with an injury. I built up again, and I’ve had my best season ever. It took me 2 years to get my first podium and first win, and there’s still so much that I can improve on.
What is your next event?
Driveway criterium series in Austinevery week, Sealy road race on May 14th, and then the State Criterium Championships at the end of the month.
Check out some of the other successes Source Endurance athletes have had.